Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:49:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Milwaukee 2429-2: The best sub compact bandsaw ? Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:49:25 +0000 Finding the perfect tool is an amazing feeling that always reminds of the scene where Harry Potter is choosing the wand. You don’t choose the wand – it chooses you! That is to say that when you find the perfect tool, you know it.

And the perfect tool will vary from person to person. It all depends on the kind of work you intend to do, the way you prefer to operate and even little details like how strong you are or how big your hands are. But when you find the right match for you, it will fit snugly into your hand, glide through whatever material you throw at it and ultimately help you to up your game. It becomes an extension of your own arm, a joy to use and something you are always reaching for.


Is the Milwaukee 2429-21 the perfect cordless bandsaw for you?


When you picture a bandsaw, you might well think of a benchtop bandsaw or a free-standing unit. The Milwaukee 2429-21 is far removed from those types of saws though and is instead a light tool that can be held in one hand in order to make quick and dirty cuts.

The design is built around this notion. It has a nice, slim and ergonomic handle along the top, a trigger located in just the right place and a rugged design in red and black. The cordless nature of the bandsaw makes it more versatile still, meaning you don’t need to worry about finding a power outlet or having cabled dangling all over the material you’re trying to cut.

The blade length is 27” x ½” x .020”. This gives a 1-5/8” cut capacity, which is fairly good for the small size. It is a 12V tool and has an SFPM of 280. While this can be used for cutting wood then, the small cutting depth means that it is going to be somewhat limited in that regard. Therefore you may find you are more likely to use it for cutting pipes or tubing. For cutting thicker wood, you’ll either need to spend a little more, or you’ll need to consider using a reciprocating saw instead. Think of it as your perfect replacement for a hacksaw.

The battery will give you up to 150 cuts per charge.

Lightweight but powerful enough ?

The Milwaukee 2429-21 is a very lightweight and easy-to-use saw that is perfect as a replacement for a hacksaw. If you are tired of sawing through thin branches or cutting through piping, then you’ll find that having something powered to do the same job is a life saver.

As for woodwork, this certainly can be useful for cutting through thin pieces of wood if that’s something you find yourself doing often. It’s not so precise as using a tabletop bandsaw or as easy to control as a jigsaw but in a pinch, it will do the job.

The tool looks good too and comes with a couple of nice extra features. For instance, there is an LED light that highlights the cutline for you and the pack includes a carry case and charger. Another pro is the safety. This is suitable for one handed use and meets the OSHA guarding requirements.

The drawback of course is that you’re not going to use this for cutting through thicker materials and you’re not going to use it for very precise jobs. This is more of a DIY tool to keep around the house in other words.

Another slight drawback is the omission of a hook. There are ways around this limitations but it would have been nice for those who like to hang their tools on the wall and it’s a shame not to see it included here.


In conclusion then, the Milwaukee 2429-21 is a handy tool to keep around if you are looking to cut through piping and tubing. It has a range of other great uses too but isn’t going to replace a table-top bandsaw anytime soon. If you are looking for a useful cutting implement you can use to save yourself some elbow grease, then this is well made with lots of positive reviews and we can recommend it!

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Hitachi M12VC Router Review: Meet Mr.Woodgilder! Sun, 23 Apr 2017 06:38:57 +0000 Some people claim that the router is the single most versatile tool in any workshop. It’s easy to see why: with a router you can make nice deep cuts in any surface, starting right from the middle if it is a plunge router. You can then use this to do everything from cutting grooves, to cutting straight through wood, to making intricate patterns and decorative fluting. It can take the place of a miter saw by allowing you to make stunning bevel cuts, it can round of edges and when you own one you’ll constantly find new things for it to do besides.

With all that in mind then, it follows that getting the right router is a good investment. This is a tool you’re going to find yourself constantly reaching for and it’s a tool that can take the place of many others. But not every router is made equal and in order to get the very best results, you need to do your research and ensure you are spending your money well.

So the question is: is the Hitachi M12VC money well-spent?

Gliding through wood…

The Hitachi M12VC is a powerful looking tool that has a lot of heft to it. It’s particularly thick and wide and has an imposing grey and green colorscheme. The top of the router has the appearance almost of a robotic visor. All in all, it makes a good first impression and looks and feels well made and like a serious piece of kit.

What’s more important when it comes to design though is just how the tool feels to hold. The good news is that it is very comfortable and ergonomically designed. You should have no problem using this for long stretches without feeling too much fatigue.

So far so good. But how does it actually perform?

Well, with a 2-1/4 HP motor powering it, you can rest assured that this is no slouch in the power department. The Hitachi M12VC has no problem whatsoever when it comes to gliding through a range of woods and other materials and for the price you really are getting a lot of power here – we were very impressed in our reviews and found that it made some other routers we’ve used lately seem relatively underpowered!

Better yet is the fact that the motor is also a variable speed. That means you can adjust the speed to suit the nature of the job you’re doing – speeding it up if you’re cutting through tough woods for instance or slowing it down where a little more delicate care is required.

Also impressive is the usual electronic speed control to ensure constant RPMs under heavy loads. This results in some vary straight and smooth cuts. The noise level is also low and with a 2-stage motor release clamp, depth adjustments are also easy.

The good and bad

This is a router that has an awful lot going for it. It is incredibly powerful for the amount you’re paying, it is very well made and it has a lot of functionality thanks to the variable speed controls, easy depth adjustment and more. In short, it really is up to most tasks you can throw at it and it represents particularly good value for money.

But there are a couple of faults that prevent this from being an absolutely perfect experience. For one, the plunge base is a little stiff out of the box and requires some adjustment. Likewise, bits can occasionally come lose if you aren’t cautious.

Summary & Conclusion

These flaws are minor though and can be easily fixed. You will need to do a little adjusting and for that reason, absolute beginners might be better off with something else. But if you’re willing to tweak, then you’re getting one of the best routers out there in terms of the power, function and price. It is rare to see something this powerful for such a low cost and especially with variable speed control as well. This is highly recommended for pros and intermediates.

So what do you think? Is the Hitachi M12VC a great deal? Let us know in the comments below or check out some of our other reviews for a range of other great tools!

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Testing the BLACK & DECKER BDCR20B – The archetypical Recip Saw ? Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:08:44 +0000 A new tool for your workshop means new possibilities and new things you can do. Moreover, it often also means fewer things that you can’t do. Fewer scenarios where you need to fix something around the house and just don’t have the available tool for the job. Fewer situations where you try and cut that piece of pipe, cord or wood and find that the equipment you have just isn’t up to the task.

This is certainly the case when you add a reciprocating saw to your arsenal. This is a tool that lacks finesse. This is not a piece of equipment for woodworkers who take pride in creating beautiful and perfect pieces of furniture. Neither is it something that you will enjoy using to make intricate patterns.

What it is is a tool that you’re going to pull out time and time again for all manner of odd jobs around the house. This is something you can use free hand and that will give you plenty of power for reaching into crevices and even around corners in some case. It is power on a stick.

And for those reasons, it doesn’t need to be particularly fancy or expensive – but you should get yourself one.

So how does the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B stack up?

A typical recip saw ?

If a reciprocating saw is a down and dirty piece of equipment, then this is the archetypal reciprocating saw. That is to say that there are no fancy features here and this is no beautiful or powerful-looking piece of equipment. It’s just an orange and black handle with a saw poking out the end and that’s fine.

It’s still good quality for the money though and you know it’s going to do the job from the name alone. Black and Decker make highly reliable and functional tools and this one is no different.

The stroke length is 7/8-inch. There is a pivoting shoe to give you a little more versatility in terms of how you’re working and the saw is capable of 3,000 strokes per minute. The good news is that you also get variable speed in the trigger, this is very important because it means you can choose precisely how much power you want to use and how much speed – when cutting through metal for instance, you are going to find yourself using a much slower speed but you still need that power.

What’s also always important with a reciprocating saw is that the blade be easy to change. This is a tool-less job, which means you can easily pop the blade out and stick a new one in to suit the type of job that you’re doing.

This is a battery powered saw that will last a decent amount of time but note that this is sold as a bare tool, so you’ll need to get all your bits and pieces separately.

The good and the bad …

The good thing about this tool is that it is powerful and versatile for the price. The pivoting shoe really is very handy and this is great when combined with the variable speeds. In short, you can use this to tackle a range of jobs. The power is also going to be more than adequate for most household tasks, even if there are beefier tools out there.

The weight is good and this makes it easier to work at unusual angles. Of course this is a big advantage of any battery-powered recip saw.

On the negative end of things though, you will find that the tool vibrates a little bit during use and can occasionally show its limitations in that regard. The price is very good but of course it’s important to remember that this is a bare tool and to factor that in when considering the total cost.

What is left to say ?

Overall, this is a good if very basic recip saw. It does what it says on the tin, which is to lie in weight, always ready to go and capable of cutting through all manner of things when you don’t need any particular precision. This is a tool that you’ll find yourself reaching for often and while this certainly isn’t the most advanced of its kind, it’s perfectly fit for purpose and offers everything that most people will need.

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Makita XRJ01Z Reciprocating Saw Review Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:55:51 +0000 A reciprocating saw is something that you should always have handy. This is a tool that will adapt itself to pretty much any situation you could need it to and the reason for that is that it is small, light, bendy and surprisingly powerful. You won’t want to use this for making very precise cuts and of course it isn’t quite as powerful as some other tools. But when you need to hack off a branch, or cut through the end of a pipe, or saw the end off a piece of wood without needing to be precise… that’s when the reciprocating saw comes into its own!
A reciprocating saw is essentially a handheld tool that is often cordless and that has a blade sticking out the end. When you squeeze the trigger at the end, the saw will move back and forth in order to cut through whatever you aim it at. But because it’s light, there’s nothing to stop you from fitting it into small gaps or handling it at any kind of awkward angle. And because the blade bends around, you can cut at a range of different angles too.

So that’s the reciprocating saw. What about the Makita XRJ01Z reciprocating saw specifically? What does it bring to the table? Let’s find out.

More about this badboy 😀

The Makita XRJ01Z is a cool looking reciprocating saw in an aqua blue/green colorscheme. It’s particularly nice to look at thanks to its slick design as well, which actually makes it feel almost like a swordfish or a shark of some kind. It just looks mean, slick and powerful.

The tool is also very ergonomic and comfortable to hold. It’s small and light and the handle comes off at an angle which actually makes it particularly well balanced. On top of that, you have a very light device that nevertheless feels like it is well made and isn’t going to fall apart in your hands (which is always nice!). The whole thing weighs just 3.9lbs and is just 15-5/8” long. That’s ideal for fitting into small crevices.

The blade change is tool-less, which is also something that you should always look for. This is important as it means you can just swap out the blade whenever you need a specific one for a specific job.

There’s a variable speed setting here which is good and which allows you to go up to 3,000 strokes per minute – which is plenty. The stroke length is ½”, which isn’t the best in class however.

The lithium ion battery is a very decent performer though and won’t run out of steam any time soon allowing you to work for longer without breaks (that’s a good thing… right?) and there’s even a built-in fan to cool the battery at the time. A 3 year warranty rounds off the package and shows confidence in the device.

Give it to me straight: Pros and Cons!

This is a well made device that looks good, that offers decent RPM and that has variable speed settings. It is light and easy to use from a variety of different angles and all of that makes this a very versatile and welcome tool.

Those are the positives.

So how about the negatives? Well, the first thing to consider here is that the tool is a little bit short on the stroke length. It’s not terrible but it’s also not exceptional by any stretch. That means that the blade is likely to wear out a little quicker and it gives you a bit less versatility when it comes to completing a range of jobs.

There is also no light, which is a shame on a recip saw. Again, this is not a requirement so it would be unfair to hark on. However, a tool this versatile begs to be used in any lighting. There are also no orbital settings, which would have been nice.

What’s left to say?

Overall, this is a great reciprocating saw that does what you would expect it to for the price. Most people just need something basic that can cut through pipes and branches and that’s what this is. If you’re looking for orbital settings and lights though, or if you want a longer stroke length, you may want to keep looking.

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Makita RT0701C Review: A good handheld router for beginners ? Mon, 17 Apr 2017 09:49:48 +0000 The Makita RT0701C is a handheld router, which instantly makes it one of the most powerful and versatile tools on the planet. While there are some tools that you only bring out for very specific occasions, the router is a tool that you will find yourself using pretty much daily. This is one of those ‘bread and butter’ tools that you just can’t do without.

And with that in mind, it’s highly important that you think carefully when you choose what kind of router you want to get. Of course you will be limited to an extent by things like the cost, the space etc. But ultimately, the best strategy is to get the best handheld router you possibly can, as you’re going to use this for everything from rounding off edges on pieces of wood, cutting grooves, puncturing holes or even creating decorative fluting.

So, the question is whether or not the Makita RT0701C has what it takes to be your new compact router? It’s certainly compact and it’s rather budget too. But how does it perform?

Is it for you?

The Makita RT0701C is a compact router with a variable speed dial that lets you set it from 10,000 to 30,000RPM. That’s a very convenient way of being able to change the speed of the tool and it’s also a very useful function to have. Being able to change the speed on a router means that you can use it on a number of different surfaces and materials and this means that it will be even more versatile as a result – whether you’re working with wood, plastic, metal or another material, the Makita RT0701C should be able to do what you need it to.

So it’s off to a good start. What else has it got? Well, at 1 ¼ HP, it’s actually fairly powerful considering the size and considering the price. When looking at performance, often the most fair way to judge is in terms of the ‘cost to power’ ratio. And in this case, it comes out shining. It’s not going to replace any large desktop routers but for a cheap and cheerful handheld tool, it’s not bad at all.

You also get more versatility thanks to a capable quick release cam lock that will allow you to adjust the depth of the tool This is great for cutting holes, for making grooves and more.

As is quite often the case with this kind of tool, you also get electronic speed control. This means that the speed will stay constant as you’re working and not be affected by changes in the wood material, or by your own fluctuations in speed and angle. Another good feature to look out for. Soft start feature only further enhances this smooth operation and hopefully smooth work that will result from it. The base accepts industry standard template guides, which is good news for if you want to follow set paths and create patterns etc.

In terms of the look, the tool is also very nicely put together. It is colored in the usual Matika green and silver and has two firm handles on the sides. These are comfortable to hold, even for long periods and all in all, it’s a well put together package.

What are the Pros and Cons?

The Makita RT0701C is not going to set the world alight. There’s nothing new or incredibly top-end here. If you’re looking for something completely futureproof that you can use as a professional, then you might want to look for something a little more powerful.

The tool also does not come with an adaptor for the template guide and that means you’ll have to buy it separately.

But these are minor complaints for what is actually one of the very best budget routers on the market. The power is great, the build quality is up there and in terms of features, it has everything you could need. The reviews on Amazon are excellent too and it’s easy to see why.


Overall, this is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a beginner router. There’s just nothing wrong with it – it is well made, very capable and excellent value in terms of its power. It is highly recommended.

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SHOP FOX W1685 Dust Collector Review Fri, 14 Apr 2017 14:10:09 +0000 Dust is the bane of any woodworker’s existence and can even go as far as to make your favorite hobby considerably less enjoyable.

The problem is of course saw dust. When you’re sanding down a piece of wood, sawing it or otherwise cutting it in some way, then the material being removed does not simply ‘evaporate’. Cutting essentially means removing a tiny strip of material that connects to parts and that strip of material – wood in this case – has to go somewhere. And where is somewhere? It’s on the floor, it’s all over your workbench, it’s in the teeth of your saw and it’s in the air where you breathe it in.

Not only does this create a lot of mess for you to clean up, thereby meaning you have less time to enjoy doing what you love; it can also prevent you from making clean cuts and can even be very bad for your health if you inhale large amounts of scratchy wood chippings that end up causing inflammation in your throat and lungs and dryness in your eyes.

So what do you do? The SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,20 CFM Dust Collector poses one solution.

A Powerful Way to Collect Dust

The SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,20 CFM Dust Collector is designed to collect dust from any tool that is prone to getting messy over time. It does this using a very potent 1.5 horsepower motor, which is capable of drawing in a very impressive 1,280 cubic feet of air every minute. That’s a lot of air and it should mean you get a lot of circulation and a lot of turnover to solve the problem quickly.

Once that dust is removed from the air, it is then deposited into a large 5.4 cubic bag, which will keep it out of your way until you’re ready to dispose of it. There’s also a steel impeller which should last for a while and has two plug adaptors.

The unit is 49kg and should be easy enough to store in the corner of a room.

Pros and Cons: An Effective Product That Does What it Says on the Tin

As a dust collector, the SHOP FOX W1685 1.5-Horsepower 1,20 CFM does exactly what you expect it to. It is very powerful and will extract a lot of air quickly to clean your tools. You can simply dust them off by the powerful motor and know that the dust isn’t going to be floating around in the air or gathering on the floor.

But while this machine is very effective, it’s not going to be for everyone. This is an alternative to an air filter and in many ways, it isn’t quite as useful. The device is expensive at $384.99 and is designed for removing dust from tools. It’s not as effective at extracting it from the air and the filtration is only 30 micron. That means that the very small bits of dust that can damage your airways will still be able to escape. One user review found this and had to place the entire machine into a separate cabinet to keep the dust sealed.

And it also means that you need to actively keep cleaning your saw by the device. For many readers, a more logical solution will be to use tools that have built in dust ports and bags and to install a separate air filter to remove smaller particles.

But as a third option that can help to keep your workspaces a little cleaner and save you some time, this does have its uses, even if it is a little unattractive and not the most powerful option on the market.

Conclusions: A Useful Machine for Some

With machines like this, the question is really whether it fits into your workflow. This isn’t going to clean your air as well as a filter and it won’t collect dust as well as having a dust bag built into your tools. But if you use a lot of tools like saws and you want to simply brush them off without worrying about dust piling up, then this may have a home in your workshop.


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Makita LS1040 Compound Mitre Saw Review: Where is the Laser ?! Mon, 10 Apr 2017 04:08:48 +0000 A miter saw stands for precision, beauty and power. This is one of the largest tools in many a hobbyists workshop but it’s one that gives them unparalleled perfection when it comes to choosing angles and the ability to make those stunning angled bevel cuts which can really add the finishing touches to any piece of work.

But while any miter saw is going to be an imposing figure lurking in the corner of your workshop and allowing for the kinds of jobs that your other tools just can’t handle, there is still certainly a spectrum here. Some miter saws are definitely at the budget end, while others give you huge blades with countless settings and incredible precision.

Where does the Makita LS1040 fall on this spectrum? And is it the right tool for you?

Product Description

The Makita LS1040 is a little more expensive than some other 10”, 15 amp miter saws but in exchange, you get a bit more heft and a few more settings. This is a decently powerful miter saw and that’s instantly apparent from the RPM. This tells you more about what a tool is like to use often and in this case, you’re getting an impressive 4,600RPM, which is the ‘upper end’ for those kinds of specs.

Other than that, you also get a device that is very nicely made. This has a particularly ergonomic handle that feels good in the hand with curves in all the right places – in our review period, we found that it fit like a glove! The color is an off-white which doesn’t show dust and dirt too easily and the light blue handle is nice and easy to spot, which means fewer accidents.

When using the tool, you’re also going to find that it feels like quality. This is what really matters in any tool review – what it is really like to operate and how it feels. This feels great and truthfully, we really enjoyed using it when we were making cuts and working away in our shop. In particular, we were impressed with the aluminum base, which is a nice touch and something to look out for when getting miter saws.

Despite the excellent build quality though, you still get a device that is very light for easily moving around and this makes it more versatile and better suited to those of a less beefy disposition. The tool only weighs 27.3lbs, which makes it very easy to carry around with you.

The miter cuts 0-45 degrees to the left and 0-52 degrees to the right and tilts on one side for bevel cuts. It also has positive miter stops at nine different settings to make life easier for you and to help you find the precise angle you want quickly and without fiddling around for too long.

Pros and Cons

This miter saw has a number of advantages. Ultimately, any miter saw that doesn’t cost the Earth is going to come with a variety of compromises and getting the right one is all about finding the tool with the compromises you find most palatable. We think this one will have a lot of fans because it is small and light while still offering decent power and features.

But that said, there are no bells and whistles here. And what’s particularly notable in its absence is any form of laser. A laser can be very useful when making precise cuts and it’s a shame not to see that here seeing as it is a bit more of an expensive unit compared to some other devices.

It’s also true that the lightness – while a positive in many ways – is going to be a negative in some aspects as it makes the tool a little less powerful cutting through larger stock. The question is how over you will cut through that kind of material.


Overall, this is one of the better-made 10” miter saws for hobbyists or professionals that don’t need a ton of power. It’s definitely better than extreme budget tools and offers good value for money all around. It’s just a bit of a shame not to get a laser thrown in considering the price point. If that’s a big issue, look elsewhere. Otherwise, this will do just nicely!

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Homecraft H26-260L Miter Saw Review: The ergonomic choice? Mon, 10 Apr 2017 03:56:32 +0000 Few tools have quite the same imposing presence in your workshop that a miter saw does. This is a large, powerful looking tool with a big manoeuvrable head and tons of power and versatility. It instantly transforms the whole look of the room it is in, while at the same time transforming the way that you work. It is all about absolute precision and performance when handheld tools just won’t do the job and it’s a tool that really makes you feel like a pro when you use it.

Miter saws are of course designed to make it easier for you to make cuts at very precise angles. The blade is attached to a swinging arm that pivots left and right and this can then simply be carefully pushed down through any given piece of wood. What’s more, is that it can be tilted in one (or two) directions in order to allow you to make attractive bevel cuts.

The great thing about a good new tool is that it will allow you to make better end products. So is this the case with the Homecraft H26-260L?

Very ergonomic

The Homecraft H26-260L is a miter saw that is definitely at the more budget end of the spectrum. Seeing as miter saws are larger and more precise, you might find yourself worrying a little more about buying them when they’re this lower price. So how does the Homecraft H26-260L pull it off?

Spoilers: it does really well!

The first thing you’ll be struck by is the design. When we were testing the unit we were big fans of the silver and red color scheme and while it is very lightweight, it also feels well made. You’ll have no problem carrying this from one room to another but at the same time, you won’t be terrified of it breaking every time you set down to use it.

The design is also thoughtful and well considered. It will work with nearly all standard miter saw stands (bonus!) and it has handy, customer-centric features like a spindle lock to hold the spindle securely while you remove the blade nut. The handle is also very ergonomic and comfortable to use over longer periods.

Best of all is the laser which is very important and very useful for a tool that is all about

In terms of performance, this is a 10-inch miter saw, so it’s definitely best suited to hobbyist applications, home workshops etc.

The capacity is good, cutting 4×4 and 2×6 at 90 degrees and 2×6 a bevel settings. It has a decent amount of power as well and in our experience it was very easy to work with. We found that in most cases, it easily cut through materials that we expected it to.

The good and the bad

This is a tool that’s a joy to use for the most part. The power is ample for the size and price and the design is thoughtful to make it mostly user-friendly. We found the laser particularly helpful and it generally made us feel comfortable when making cuts – which is exactly what you want from a miter saw.

But it’s not perfect of course. For one, the power and size of the blade means that this is not suitable for professional settings – but you knew that already. A little more alarming, is that the laser is occasionally a little ‘off’ when the device comes out of the package. This is unfortunate, as is the fact that the blade can be a little tricky to change, despite the added features intended to make it easier.

That light weight can also be a bad thing when you’re cutting through something thick and tough and it can result in a fair amount of shaking and vibrating.


Overall, this is a great budget miter saw that does everything you would expect a great budget miter saw to do! There are no standout features here and it’s not suited to professional use. Your mileage may also vary with things like laser precision and blade changes.

But if you’re willing to make those potential compromises, then you should find that the look and feel of this tool largely make up for it. It’s a nicely put together tool and a good introduction to the miter saw!

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Hitachi M12VC Fixed Base Router Review: Ok, but not the best! Sun, 09 Apr 2017 07:23:11 +0000 When you first use any new tool, it is a highly exciting moment. A new tool represents new possibilities and new convenience. Now it’s going to be easier, quicker and more enjoyable than ever to do the work that you do every day.

There’s a tangible excitement when you open it up out of the packaging then and many of us will feel like kids on Christmas morning as we flick through the instruction manual, toss it to one side and then get to work.

But what follows is always going to be one of two emotions: abstract joy and excitement at having found a tool that really does the job… or disappointment and dismay when you realize that the new tool you’re working with is clunky, awkward and underpowered.

The problem is that you don’t know which it is going to be until you get the tool home. Even in a highstreet store, you can’t try it out until you get to this point! And that’s where we come in.

So when you get the Hitachi M12VC out of its packaging and set it to work on a piece of wood, can you expect your heart to sink or to jump for joy? Let’s find out…

Taking a closer look…

The Hitachi M12VC is off to a good start on appearances alone, although I would say that it has the slight look of a lawnmower about it…

That aside, this is a tool that looks and feels well made, is solid in the hands and that has an ergonomic design. The handles on each side offer a firm grip and are satisfying to hold and to move the tool around.

Once you actually turn the thing on, you should have no problem at all in terms of power. This thing can really dig and at 2-1/4 peak HP, you’re going to blaze a trail through any kind of wood or many other materials. This is quite simply a much more powerful tool that it has any right to be for the price or for the size. We’ve worked with similar tools in the past that cost a lot more and they’ve been nowhere near as powerful. So well done Hitachi!

What’s also very welcome is variable speed control. We always love to see this and this is no different. That allows you to switch power to suit a range of different materials and when you combine that with the smooth electronic speed control, you have a very versatile and capable tool.

All that would be enough on its own but you also get a useful 2-stage motor release clamp for easy base changes and depth adjustments and ‘class leading noise levels’. Specifically, this is only 79.5dB, so you should still be able to hear your music over the sound of your work. That’s not going to be a big issue for most people but it’s certainly not a bad thing to have!

The good, the bad…the ugly…

In terms of features, this is a tool that seems to do it all for a fraction of the price of the competition. Now, if you’re at all cynical and jaded like this reviewer, then the question in your mind might be: what’s the catch?

Well, while the reviews are good, it would seem this tool isn’t quite perfect. And in our reviews and testing, we found a few issues too with collets releasing bits. It’s also important to inspect carbon brushes for wear regularly, otherwise you can cause unwanted damage. The plunge base is a little stiff when you first get it too.

So what’s the verdict?

It’s a hard one to judge because in terms of power and performance, it has got everything you could want for the price. The problem is with the user experience, which is just lacking compared with similar models and similar products. That makes it a little hard to recommend wholeheartedly, as there’s just more work involved here than there should be. This is simply part and parcel of getting something that is very much a budget tool punching above its weight. Corners had to be cut somewhere presumably and this is why the tool isn’t quite as smooth or pleasant to use as perhaps it could be if it were a little more expensive.

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Triton TRA001 3-1/4: A versatile compact plunge router! Sun, 09 Apr 2017 07:12:56 +0000 The Triton TRA001 3-1/4 is a compact plunge router that looks the business and that has the considerable power and versatility to match.

In this review, we’ll be taking a more in depth look at the router to see if it can live up to others in its price bracket, or if it will do everything you need it to in a professional or hobbyist setting.

The answer will always depend on what it is you look for in a router or in any power tool. Ultimately, we all have different requirements for our workshops, different working habits and different preferences. Finding the right tool for you is a matter of finding one that will fit the workflow that you’ve grown accustomed to and that you personally find comfortable to use.

But there are definitely some things that will be largely universally approved of in a router. These include impressive power for cutting through tougher materials, speed settings, easy bit removal and a great design that’s comfortable and solid to hold for long periods of time.

Does the Triton TRA001 3-1/4 win on all those counts? And is it right for you?

Meet Mr. Versatile …

The Triton TRA001 3-1/4 is squat and portly and decked out in light grey, orange and black. It has nice rounded edges and is generally well made and feels good in the hands, even if it does look a little bit more like a children’s toy rather than a serious piece of equipment for the workshop.

The tool also has most of the features that you’re probably accustomed to/looking for in router. Those include a soft start functionality for ensuring that your cuts are smooth and even and variable speed to make sure that you can find the perfect speed for whatever type of material you’re cutting into.

What’s a bit more standout is the very impressive amount of power under the hood here. Specifically, the Triton TRA001 3-1/4 boasts a 3-1/4HP motor. That’s some serious speed and power and it means that you shouldn’t often find yourself struggling to make your way through tougher materials. This is great for anyone who is gradually taking on tougher projects because you should find that even as you get more challenging jobs, your new router will be more than capable of keeping up with you.

Power is impressive but not unusual. What’s a bit more unique to this tool though is the single button ‘mode switching’ feature. This allows you to convert the tool from a conventional plunge router to a fixed base router with a rack and pinion mode.

Now this is some pretty useful stuff, meaning that you don’t need to pick between the two types of routers. The plunge router will be ideal for when you want to make holes in a piece of wood, while the fixed base mode will be very useful for when you want to have absolute precision.

This is a great additional feature and when combined with the top-end power and performance, it makes this one of the best and most impressive routers out there right now.

Many Pros – what about Cons?

This is a router with a lot of advantages and a lot of things to love. It has that highly impressive power, the option to choose from a range of different speed settings and then all of the usual features packed in. It’s also just a joy to use, when the tool first hit the wood we found it cut through it like a dream and the handles were ergonomic and comfy to hold. What also surprised us during our tests was just how quiet this router was!

But nothing is perfect, so what are the downsides here? Well, one complaint that we ran into is that it is something of a ‘jack of all trades’ and master of none. Some reviewers found that this worked better as a fixed position router rather than a freehand plunge router but that was not our personal experience. There are also some complaints regarding the quality of additional components.

My Opinion

Overall, this is an excellent tool that seems to pack an awful lot of power and versatility into a single package. In our experience, there are few routers out there that are better than this one in terms of value for money. But if you want the very best in just one category, then a more ‘specialized’ tool might just have the edge.

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